Version Of Refik Anadol’s Machine Hallucinations To Run On That New Las Vegas “Sphere” Starting Tomorrow
August 31, 2023 by Dave Haynes
The company behind that giant digital sphere in Las Vegas is doubling down on making a big splash with its opening – hiring a rock star act – U2 – to play the opening events in the venue this fall, and now enlisting a rock star visual artist to produce some visuals for the LED orb.
Sphere Entertainment has announced that starting tomorrow, the giant ball will start playing out an AI data sculpture developed by Turkish-American media artist Refik Anadol. The piece is called Machine Hallucinations: Sphere.
Machine Hallucinations: Sphere, an immersive digital experience, celebrates Sphere’s unique architecture by featuring dynamic visualizations using vast amounts of data to create abstract imagery of space and nature. The two-chapter series, which Anadol refers to as “AI Data Sculptures,” creates a collective, meditative, and multisensory experience that takes audiences on a journey of light, movement, and color with vivid pigments, shapes, and patterns. This immersive experience invites viewers to imagine alternative realities constructed by invisible data movements around them.
“I am extremely honored to be the first artist to utilize the exterior of Sphere,” Anadol says. “It’s so exciting to be given such an architectural and engineering marvel as a canvas. This opportunity aligns perfectly with our studio’s long-term mission of embedding media arts into architecture to create living architectural pieces that are in constant interaction with their environments.”
“Refik Anadol’s artistic approach made him the ideal artist to partner with first to showcase his incredible work using the full-scale capabilities of the Exosphere, an incomparable canvas for artists who want to explore their artistic expression on a global stage and push the boundaries of what’s possible,” says Guy Barnett, SVP Brand Strategy and Creative Development, Sphere Entertainment. “Through the captivating power of the Exosphere and our unwavering commitment to showcase both art and brands on Sphere’s exterior, we will forever change the way artwork and commerce co-exist.”
Machine Hallucinations is an ongoing exploration of data aesthetics based on collective visual memories of space, nature, and urban environments. For this project, Anadol and his team used themed datasets as the building blocks for two distinct chapters:
Machine Hallucinations: Space is a visual speculation of humanity’s historical attempts to explore the depths of space based on Refik Anadol Studio’s collaborations with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory that utilizes publicly available photographs taken by satellites and spacecraft, including millions of raw images that have been captured and recorded by the International Space Station and the Hubble telescopes.
Machine Hallucinations: Nature draws on more than 300 million publicly available photographs of flora and fauna, resulting in pigments, shapes, and patterns that we associate with nature, but only exist in the mind of a machine as “hallucinations.” The second half of this chapter consists of Sphere: Winds of Las Vegas, which harnesses data sets of wind and gust speed, as well as precipitation and air pressure, collected from real time API wind sensors in Las Vegas.
The exterior surface of the structure is now being referenced as the Exosphere. It covers nearly 580,000 square feet of fully programmable LED paneling, made up of approximately 1.2 million LED pucks, spaced eight inches apart. Each puck contains 48 individual LED diodes, with each diode capable of displaying 256 million different colors,
Machine Hallucinations: Sphere will be visible on Sphere for four months, starting September 1.
I have been trying for months now to get a podcast interview with the Sphere people. No luck so far. At least I will see the beast in December, when I am in Vegas for DSE.
Sixteen:Nine interviewed Anadol for a podcast back in 2018.